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Q&A with Chuck Lauer

by Loren Bonner, DOTmed News Online Editor | April 17, 2014
From the April 2014 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

HCBN: What will be some of the important messages this year in your opinion?
The industry has already been reforming in many ways even before the ACA, but now with the law in place, that has compounded the problems health care faces and you have Uncle Sam in the picture more than ever. Basically, everyone is nervous now about how they can make a buck — it all comes down to the dollars in many cases I think. So people in the industry are confused about what steps to take for the future. They are most concerned about compliance with the ACA and other regulations. It’s not just the Affordable Care Act, but also state regulations too because if you don’t follow them you are subject to scrutiny and penalties.

CEOs set the stage. That person sets the goals, mission, vision and moral of the organization. There are different types of CEOs out there and there are many today who are doing great things and seeing things in the future and focusing more on the quality of health care.

HCBN: Speaking of CEOs, tell us about the Thought Leadership panel you will lead at the show?
I’ve got three great CEOs lined up for the panel: Chuck Gijanto of Baystate Health in Massachusetts; Richard Miller of Virtua Healthcare System in New Jersey; and Mark Newton of Swedish Covenant Hospital in Chicago. In fact, Mark’s hospital was recently named by the Leapfrog Group as the number one hospital for quality in Chicago. All of them have put into place plans that are ahead of the curve and they are willing to take risks to make their institutions better. A lot of CEOs out there are just waiting for retirement. But these three, I think, are going to stimulate others because they have been willing to step forward, take risks and make things happen. They are role models we can all learn from.

HCBN: What do want people to take away from the show this year?
I want supply chain going in the same direction as their system or institution.

HCBN: If there was one piece of advice you want to give to health care executives today, what would it be?
Don’t stand still. I’m a big believer that leaders should bring together people and take them on a journey and today it’s about bringing quality care to patients. How do we get to that? Too often there are silos in the system, and sometimes different groups don’t get along, but that has to go by the wayside and we have to start taking a team approach. For example, nurses used to be afraid to speak up if the doctor did something wrong, but in many cases, the nurse is right. So you need to give everyone you work with the opportunity to object so they can rethink. That’s what leadership is all about.

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